West Elm Credit Card? This Review Exposes The Good + Bad

Q: I just moved and hence, need to buy a lot of new furniture! While I was at West Elm today the associate gave me their credit card application and the “Design Dollars” rewards program seem to be a good deal. Are there any drawbacks?

A: Here’s a review (updated for 2015) of the pros and cons that you can expect with the West Elm credit card:

Pros

  • Great Rewards: As you can probably guess, the most alluring thing about this card is the rewards program. It gives $25 Design Dollars for each $250 that is charged to the account. These Design Dollars can be spent on additional purchases and after reading the fine print, I don’t see any unexpected exclusions listed (can be spent on any merchandise at their stores, website, or an order through the catalog). Earning $25 for every $250 spent essentially means West Elm is giving a 10% rebate on credit card purchases.
  • No Annual Fee: There is no fee for having the card.

Cons

  • Rewards OR Financing, Not Both: On a given purchase, if you choose the 0% deferred financing, you won’t earn any rewards. It’s one or the other.
  • Higher Interest Rate: The application on the website didn’t list the APR so I called up customer service to find out and as of the time of writing the interest rate was 19%. Obviously this is not the worst, but it’s not the best either. Speaking of cardholder customer service, that phone number is 1-800.695.3988. I didn’t see it listed on the website and had to be transferred around, so there is the number to save you the hassle I went through.
  • 0% Deferred Interest: Depending on the West Elm store you go to and your creditworthiness, you might be offered a promotional 0% rate. The length can vary but the phone rep told me that 6, 12, or 24 months seem to be the most common. However unlike a regular credit card this is deferred interest; if you don’t pay it off in full before the time is up, your account will be charged the interest on the full purchase going back to the date you bought the items. You have to be very careful when using these types of 0% deferred interest promotions because they don’t work like the 0% offers on a major bank credit card.
  • West Elm Prices: There’s no arguing that West Elm makes great furniture for urbanites but a common complaint about them is their pricing. Something you definitely need to ask yourself is if a 10% rebate is a better deal than buying similar items elsewhere for significantly less?

Verdict?

The Design Dollars are an excellent program and if you plan on spending thousands, then the rebate can really add up. However you should only apply for a West Elm credit card if you have the discipline to pay off the bill in full every month –or– pay off every penny before the deferred interest kicks in on the 0% offer.

Compare 2015’s highest cash-back cards

Written or updated for September 2015

 
Comments
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Beware of this card!! They charged me a bunch of absurd fees for not paying off the full balance on the card, even though the employee who helped me set it up said I just had to pay off the monthly minimum! As a side note, I could have easily paid off the entire balance at once if only someone had told me!! They even charged me a $34 “finance fee” for having $53 left on my balance–in what world does that make any sense??

I called customer service, they were incredibly rude and basically said, tough luck.

On top of that, seeing the other reviews here–glad I have the information now. If only I’d known before I ever signed up for this card. A complete scam and untrustworthy company.

Westelm is full of crap.

Warning, read the fine print if you do receive your design dollars. They do not work like a gift card and are for one time only use. I just realized that I lost $100 on one of mine because I did not use the entire balance at the same time.

I just got scammed too! I used a small amount on a smaller purchase and then tried to redeem the other $100. They said no! Customer service was just awful. I will not shop there again.

I also never received my design dollars (~$250) despite paying the bill on time and watching the mail closely. I called customer service and they claimed my design dollars had expired and there was nothing they could do. I asked to speak to a manager but a manager never called me back. What really makes me believe this is a scam is the supposed expiration date of the design dollars, is neither 3 or 6 months after my purchase, the delivery date, or my payment. I will be cancelling this card. I feel cheated out of the 1% cash back my regular card gives me.

I also never received my design dollars (over $100) and the customer service representative I called claimed they had been sent a few months ago and had already expired by the time of the phone call. Ridiculous. Obviously they had no problems getting the bills out to me. I asked him to close my account, since obviously that was the only reason I had opened one. He did so immediately and didn’t have the slightest regret on losing an excellent customer. What a bunch of creeps. Stay away from the west elm card. waiting to weigh in on the class action law suit.

I think West Elm is due for a class action lawsuit. They are very deceptive. If there are any class-action attorneys out there reading this blog -this is definitely a cause that would be worthwhile to pursue. They also made me pay the late fee, because they stopped emailing and sending me my bill. On top of that, they never gave me design dollars from July (I spent $450 and it is now November) and now have me running around in circles calling every which number. Such a waste of my time…. It is obviously on purpose – a VERY sneaky company. Really upsetting.

Also before I forget!! To receive the design dollars not only took me quite a few months, but they gave me less them what was offered! And when I called their customer service again!!! Nobody could help, since every dept. Is not connected, and the final answer was to go to the store and find the sales person, Who I spoke too quite a few months back! No responsibility!!!

First I tought it was a good idea to use the credit offered by west elm once I shopped there a Few times. But here is what happened:

First what was offered at the store (no interest for the first year was not true) and the interest was actually high. I tried to set up auto payment, but they don’t have the service, so I tried to schedule a payment trough their website, and even tough it worked, the payment never actually happen, and instead of receiving an email to notify me, they send my account to a company who would harass me over the phone. I tried to pay at the store and they would not receive the payment. I even called to pay the whole balance and they would not accept credit card, it had to be direct transfer from my account. Anyways I wasted some time, so you don’t have too! Do a little homework before getting a line of credit with west elm! The staff at the store is nice, but once you try their card the mess begins! I paid in full and never will deal with them again! The worst service ever!!!!

I was also really excited about signing up for another credit card that I did not need, just for the West Elm design dollars. I had planned on paying cash for the purchase anyway, so I figured why not open the cc, as I was going to make a couple large purchases, and the design dollars would be a nice perk.

Since I was going to pay the bill off right away, the super high interest rate wasn’t a concern. I was furnishing a new home that I had just purchased and the sales person at the store explained to me that the design dollars would come on my first bill. Shouldn’t the employees at least know how their store program works? After spending over $8,000 the very first month, I had never been so excited to receive a cc bill- just for the design dollars of course- $800 worth. At the top of the bill comes a note saying that “your design dollars are on their way”! Not what I expected.

After calling customer service on 6/5, they informed me that they really don’t have any way of tracking or checking into where the design dollars are, they could only tell me that they were issued on May 25th, but could not tell me whether they were sent out yet. She advised me to wait a few more days. She also told me not to worry, that I would have 90 days to use them from the date of issue. Problem! It’s now been 18 days since the “issue” date, and no design dollars. I’m not sure if this has happened to anyone else or if this is normal procedure for them, but I’m super disappointed. I’ll be making my 3rd follow up call for them today.

I actually don’t have an issue with the way West Elm does the design dollars program…after all, any retailer’s programs are designed to get you back into the store and all retailers love for you to buy on the store issued credit card.

What I do have a problem with is the customer service for the West Elm credit card. I just tried calling “customer service” to report that my bill was delivered to a neighbor’s mailbox and now I can’t get payment to them by the due date (tomorrow). There was not an option for me to speak to someone on this matter…instead I got caught several times (I hung up and redialed a couple of times) in an endless loop of options that didn’t suit my needs.

I did find that for a $15 fee, I could pay my West Elm credit card via my checking account over the phone…well, I only owe $13.97 so that’s not happening!

West Elm credit card customer service is my main credit card company’s new best friend. I will not be using my West Elm credit card again – – the customer service just isn’t there.

I agree that the Design Dollars program is disappointingly limited, as well as deceptive. It is shocking that a major retailer like West Elm would institute such a restrictive and misleading type of rewards program. Not only that, but I don’t believe you get any refund – or store credit – if you return items paid for with Design Dollars. And NONE of this information is anywhere on West Elm’s site, nor is it communicated to customers in any way at time of purchase/credit card sign up. Verging on fraudulent.

One more thing: once they issue your design dollar card, it expires in about 3 months, so you only have a short time to use them.

Beware of the fine print with the West Elm Design Dollars!

This is how it works: at the end of each billing cycle, they tally up the design dollars in $50 increments. We had made a whole lot of purchases, so we had earned 450 design dollars. Then they send you the design dollars as a sort of coupon. We got two of these, one for $200, the other for $250.

We figured that these could be used like every other gift card or points card we’ve ever heard of, but we were wrong. It turns out, and this is spelled out in the fine print but not even hinted at anywhere else, that you have to spend all the design dollars on one coupon, or else you forfeit the rest.

Not knowing this, we bought some items online, which cost about $80 (note that you can’t use the design dollars on shipping or taxes). We used the $200 design dollar card/coupon/whatever it is, and only found out after the order was placed that the remaining $120 was automatically forfeited because we didn’t spend it all at once!

To me, this is outrageously dishonest. As I said, I’ve never heard of any rewards program that works like this, and it was very unclear that this was going to happen. I feel like we’ve been cheated out of $120.

So, be aware!